Hopefully you have already noticed a new look for the website. The content remains the same as it was on the previous "dark brown" version. I'll periodically change the background image just to keep things interesting.
When you get back into things you've done before you always find the boo-boos that you didn't notice at the time, so I fixed a few typos and some grammar along the way.
I know you shouldn't use your audience as your auditor, but if you find any areas I messed up in the update, drop me a line and I'll fix it up.
Hope you find the new theme a little more eye appealing.
The Rat Co. employees are now complete and are ready to be installed in the finished piece. The CEO is the one seated in the foreground. Each one clutches a Canadian "Loonie", a one dollar coin in their hand, except our friend on the right who holds two. In the next few days I will post photos of them in position.
Even though I am any from the shop, I dragged my carving knife and Dremel along and managed to work in a little time and "branded" the handle for the current automata project. The name of the piece "Rat Co." is cut into the crank. Originally I considered a Canadian Loonie for the handle but it just seemed to large, so I decided to go with a nickel. A nickel also fits well with the theme in a different way since the beaver on the Canadian nickel is a member of the rodent family.
On the weekend the crank will be united with the automata project and I'll focus on finalizing the coin chute.
After cutting the cams for "The Waiting Room" the next step was to curt the remaining followers. They are the arms that ride along he cams and impart motion to the linkages that make the characters move. In this piece the followers are all cut from 3/8" thick maple. I often use either hardwoods or plywood for the followers. This pile is waiting to be cut after the templates from my CAD system have been "tacked" onto the stock.
Working today brought a surprise. As I was carving Flo's head today it struck me for some reason that she should have a pony tail. No idea why, but now she has one.
Flo's hair was detailed by wood burning. It is a fast and easy way to give texture to characters hair. I think it adds interest to the character's look. You can see the wood burning in the photo below before paint is applied. You can also see the faint line where the top of her head was removed to insert the eye movement mechanism. It will should all but disappear when painted.
In the photo below Flo sits beside Bones, both in different stages of completion. Bones seem to be eyeing his new neighbour rather suspiciously! Maybe it is her lack of eyeballs that freaks him out. Who knows what skeletons think.
One of the characters of the current automata "Waiting Room" that I am working on is a skeleton. You may have seem something about him in a previous blog. After working on things for the recent show I attended I am finally back in the shop working this piece. Here is a clip of Bones' eyes looking anxiously at the triage nurse wondering if he will be overlooked yet again. I will likely do some more detailing on the nose and teeth.
Here is Bones sitting in his chair. His arms and legs have yet to be completed. Some of the pieces can be seen lying around him. When finished his eyes will dart back and forth, his hand will tap on the arm of the chair and his leg will jiggle nervously.
Well what's this? First a pair of odd looking chairs, then half a leg and now this weird picture. It looks like a pair of man's legs sticking out from under a dress! Any guesses? Seems like someone's imagination might be getting carried away. Oh well you'll have to keeping following the blog to find out.
Another chunk of the new automata to go with he chairs. This is a lower leg, feminine looking I hope, that is part of the same piece. The leg will pivot a the knee. The actuating arm is a thin piece of brass that has been epoxied into place in a slit cut in the top of the leg. This will all be hidden in the upper leg if things continue to go according to plan. Keep following I'll add another piece of the clue tomorrow.
Hmmm? So what's with this? I can assure you that I have not gone into the business of doll house furniture. They are part of a new automata piece in progress. But what is with the holes? One circular and one rectangular. Well I guess you'll have to keep watching the blog to see where this is going.
I selected a handle design and set in to build it today. The result is a muskellunge, Mishe-Nahma, whose name is taken from the song of Hiawatha. Here is the finished photo. Tomorrow it will get glued on to the input shaft and the Fishing automata will be virtually complete.
Automata is a creative blend of my life interests , engineering, art and woodworking.